Sixth Annual Dance Big Red Goes Virtual, Raising Funds for Norton Children’s Hospital

Dance Big Red raised over $34K virtually to support pediatric heart for our community's tiniest patients by providing new diagnostic services at Norton Children's Outpatient Center - Bowling Green. Western Kentucky University students participated in the sixth-annual student-led fundraising event held over the weekend utilizing an online Zoom platform. The virtual event allowed the fundraiser to continue as students, sponsors, families and community members practiced social distancing.

“In spite of and because of these times of uncertainty, we knew it was so important to fundraise and have the event,” stated Julie Sisler, Dance Big Red Co-Chair. “Even with so many road blocks, we were eager to find a way to push forward by offering a virtual event. It was important to our 2020 Dance Big Red Executives and Committee Members to work even harder for all the patients and families at Norton Children’s Hospital during these times. We didn't want to let the situation distract from our mission.”

Dance Big Red held various fundraising events throughout the year including Dodge for a Cause and Kick-it for the Kids. The executive members have been involved with offering support to the Bowling Green Brave Hearts Chapter and supporting various Norton Children’s Hospital outreach activities across the region along with visiting patients and touring the hospital in the summer.

“The perseverance among the WKU student leadership planning Dance Big Red 2020 was evident as their creativity and drive pushed the virtual event forward,“ said Dana Matukas, Western Kentucky Development and Marketing Coordinator, Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation and Norton Children’s Hospital. “Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation was contacted by a WKU sophomore in early 2014 with the idea to create a dance event to support Norton Children’s Hospital. One student’s dream has now grown into an annual event that continues to be a highly anticipated tradition at WKU impacting children from across the state that need specialized treatment. Since the inaugural event six years ago, the event has raised nearly $300K for Norton Children’s Hospital.”

Western Kentucky University Campus Recreation and Wellness Director Stephen Rey said, “Congratulations! All the volunteers, donors, and participants should be very proud of such an accomplishment. It’s how you overcome adversities, you become stronger. Our students care and they back it up with passion. Another example of the WKU Spirit.”

"A total of 19 WKU students served on the DBR Executive Board, with over 35 serving on one of the ten DBR Committees. It was really how all these students put their passion and handwork together that made the event a success," said Erin Donelson, Dance Big Red Co-Chair. "The WKU community truly showed out on Friday and we couldn't be more proud of the results and the impact that the event will have on Norton's Children's Hospital."

The event is possible due to hard work and dedication of volunteers at every level within Dance Big Red along with all the sponsors. The top tier sponsors included Bowling Green Hot Rods, Dynamic Entertainment, Musicians Pro, WKU Campus Recreation & Wellness, Graves Gilbert Clinic, B&R Electrical, Kiwanis Club of Bowling Green, and WKU Catering. The media sponsors included WBKO, WNKY, WOVO, Sam FM, Nash Icon, Howdy, WUHU, WDNS and TALK 104.1. For a full list of sponsors visit

Pledges are still being accepted. Visit

About Norton Children’s Hospital

As Kentucky and Southern Indiana’s only full-service, free-standing pediatric hospital, Norton Children’s Hospital, along with its predecessor hospitals, have cared for children for more than a century without regard to their families’ ability to pay. The hospital also is an advocate for the health and well-being of all children. The 300-bed hospital is the region’s only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and serves as the primary pediatric teaching facility for the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Specialists offer comprehensive pediatric care, including a full range of services for congenital and acquired heart disease, cancer care, neurosciences, spine and orthopedic care, and neonatal care.

As part of a family of regional facilities that treat more than 180,000 children each year who seek care regardless of their families’ ability to pay, Norton Children’s Hospital and its sister locations rely on support from the community. The hospital’s foundation raises millions of dollars each year to advance world-class programs and services through workforce development, facility enhancement, equipment and research. More information is available at

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